“For the chief legal officer of the government to mislead Parliament is a very serious misdemeanour,” Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said.
He is calling on the Opposition to file a motion to have the Attorney General taken before the Parliamentary Privileges Committee for misleading Parliament regarding the 2017 Census.
Mr Chaudhry was commenting on a statement made in Parliament on Monday by Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum that no data based on ethnicity was collated under the 2017 Census and therefore such information was not available for released to the public.
An unsigned statement issued in the Bureau of Statistics website today in the name of the Government Statistician who is away overseas in a conference, says that questions on ethnicity were posed in the census questionnaire but the information could not be used as it had been “severely compromised” because of anomalies in the way data on ethnicity was collected.
“This is not the same as Mr. Sayed Khaiyum saying that “no data on ethnicity was collated” in the 2017 census. He had clearly misled Parliament on this important issue.
The statement from the Bureau of Statistics does not absolve the Attorney General from the remarks he made in Parliament.
As the Census Commissioner Mr Waqavonovono had made a categorical statement to the Fiji Times in January this year that they “did collate data based on ethnicity” but were not free to release the information …the decision to release it has to come from higher authority. Once we are instructed then we release it.”
Labour calls for a thorough investigation to establish the truth regarding this issue.